Sunday, December 30, 2012

Heading south

We stopped in Coconut Grove which is in the south part of Miami before we headed the rest of the way south to boot key harbor at Marathon in the Keys. While we were at the dinghy dock I noticed that one side was mostly inflatable’s in good shape and the other side was filled with hard dinghy's of, well lets say, questionable integrity. (They looked pretty bad.)

It turns out that the right side of the dock was for the “paying” customers and the left side was for those who anchored out. Quite a contrast.

We didn’t stay around the Miami area because a cold front blew thru during the night providing us with a strong north wind and a ‘free ride’ south to the Keys. The wind was blowing a steady 15 to 20 kts and as we left Miami behind us the flag was standing out on the topping lift.
I was able to run down Biscayne Bay with both of the front sails pulling us along.
It made for a spirited ride! After using the engine to get out of the mooring field we never had to turned it on again. We even tacked into the anchorage at Tarpon Basin and dropped anchor while furling the sail. A perfect day. Hope that yours went as well as ours did.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


OK, the hull is nice and tight but the seals on the opening ports (which are now over 10 years old)  are starting to give out. We found a leak during a big rain when water was dripping into the kitchen. Then, the stateroom port leaked during some exciting sailing when waves were hitting the port. Normally, what I’d do is go to any marine chandler and order 25 feet of new seal (like I did 10+ years ago) but,,, surprise,,, they don’t carry it anymore. It’s taken me months of searching on the web to finally find a company that makes the proper sized seal. (It just so happens that the company is in Michigan!). So, when we get to Marathon I’ll order some more seals and properly repair the windows. In the mean time, though, the windows are still leaking so, I’ve taken the old seals out of the ports and reversed them and reinstalled them. It’s a short term fix but now, the ports don’t leak and the “Admiral” is happy again. Maintenance on a boat never really ends.

Monday, December 24, 2012


The folding bikes that we use are “Dahon’s” and they have been a joy to use while traveling on the boat. They don’t take up very much room (we store them under the side deck in a cockpit locker)and they have been essential for going places that are too far to walk comfortably to.

it's a cold day, Edie has a sweater on!
They don’t weigh that much and Anna and I can load the two bikes, us  and a bunch of groceries into the dinghy without trouble. The only problem that I have with them is that they are a ‘light weight’ bike (not intended for heavy use) and they were built them with inferior spokes. The spokes are stainless steel and they did something wrong when they manufactured them. These spokes break for no good reason at all. In fact, these spokes will break while folded up in storage. I have replaced over 15 spokes and today, replaced my 16 one.
Today also was a “major” repair day for the bikes. I remove the rear hubs, grease the hub and sprocket bearings and replace the rear tires.
special tool to remove the cranks
both sides off
look close and you can see the remains of the crank bearings!
Then, I removed the pedals and the crank bearings on both bikes and replaced the wore out bearings with shinny new ones.
It’s well worth the headache of tearing apart these little bikes for the freedom that they give us.

Monday, December 17, 2012

That ‘sinking’ feeling

Troubles come in three’s they always say, which is good since we have now hit our own “three” in troubles. Battery burning up, engine wiring on fire, and now a hull leak.

The Snow Goose has a centerboard because she is shallow draft and needs the extra keel when going up wind. It lives in a centerboard trunk within the bottom of the boat. Part of this trunk had a weeping leak; a small rust streak with a tiny drip.

When I scratched it; the leak became a small stream of water.
I tried to patch it with a screw and washer, but it became a bigger stream of water.
I finally made a large rubber patch and clamped it in place.
What a mess. The good news is that it can be repaired (the Goose is made of steel and all it will take is a bit of welding) the bad news is that we will have to be out of the water to do it and that won’t happen until the spring. Now that our "three" troubles are done, the rest of the winter should be smooth sailing,,, knock on wood.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Everyday stuff

Just a short little blog.

We have been doing repairs and running errands and on the way these two guys poised for us.
A rather serious fellow, don't you think?
I never tire of watching the birds down here.

Friday, December 14, 2012


This happened in the anchorage for 3 nights in a row. Anna and I were on the deck dancing to the jigs at times. It’s moments like this that make you realize why you came cruising.
Note: This is a big file, (even though it is only 25 sec long), I don’t know how to make a movie that is not so data intense yet.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New lights

This is a little change that I’ve wanted to do for years now. The lights in the kitchen are under the counter and were bought from an RV store.
They work great and give off a lot of light but, being incandescent bulbs they are energy hogs.
It requires 4 amps to run these lights (that's a lot of energy on a boat).

At the consignment store I found LED lights that were a great price.
I replaced the main bulb with a warm colored light.
I also added two strips of whit light LED’s also. Now, we have almost the same amount of light but using only .4 amps! A 90% reduction. LED’s are on my list of upgrades to the Snow Goose this year.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Today’s been a bad day. The wire that burned up yesterday must have melted other wires within the harness on the engine. This morning when we were running the engine, the wiring harness on the engine caught fire. Luckily it was a small, localized fire but it burned the harness up and the aft side of the engine. What a mess. It took 5 hours of work to clean up and re-construct a new harness for the engine. Truly, a bad day. Hope that yours went better.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Engine troubles

Ah, the boating life; sunshine, fresh air, sundowners in the cockpit, and engines that won’t start. We had motored down to manatee pockets just outside of Stuart Fl and anchored today. After a bit I decided that I was too close to another boat and tried to start the motor so that we could re-anchor only nothing happened, the motor was DEAD. Nothing at all, no click, nothing.
After opening up the engine console I found a burned wire that went down to the engine compartment where I found a wiring harness connection that was burned up.
It’s a wonder that it didn’t start a fire. 3 hours later, I had the connection replaced and another wire run to the engine to replace the burned up one. If the engine hadn’t’ been hot from running it wouldn’t’ have been such a bad job. We still had to up anchor and move the boat so, I worked next to that hot beast and got the job finished just before dark, moved the anchor and got cleaned up. Ah, the boating life.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Veterans Island

Today’s walk took me to a very interesting island that is dedicated to veterans. It was created from the spoils dredged the bottom of the ICW. At the time, several veterans suggested that an artificial island should be created as a place to honor the veterans of our country. Veterans Island is a subdued tribute to the men and their services that have given of their time and their lives to our country. I thought that I’d bring you some pictures of the monuments that honor the different branches of the services and of the different wars that our country has fought in. It is a great place to take a walk on a warm Fl morning and reflect upon those whom we have depended so much. I realize that the pictures don’t show the monuments very well but the overall effect of the island and its simple monuments contributed to its impact as a memorial.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Out for a walk

Anna and I went over to the local Art Museum a few days ago and found this collection of bronze statues depicting a court trial.

The cat is on trial.
The dog is the prosecuting attorney.
the cat has a jury of peers and a wise owl for the judge…
Do you think the cat might be guilty????

There was also another statue made of discarded sticks, roots and wood that was of a horse. The interesting thing is that this statue was in the “Art Prize” competition that was held in our home town of Grand Rapids, Mi. this summer. What a surprise to find something that I had admired in the competition on display in Vero Beach outside of their art museum. It's a small world that we live and travel in.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Eaten alive in Vero


The area that we anchored in is at the end of the mooring field by the mangroves. The mangroves are filled with no-see-ums… which, just as you might guess, you can’t see but boy oh boy do they ever bite. So when the sun gets low and the evening is coming on you have to close up the boat and move inside or you will be doing the no-see-um dance. You know, slap your knee, slap your arm, slap your leg, slap your neck, slap your… well, you get the idea.

During the day though, the mangroves are beautiful so I went for a ride thru them yesterday. I saw dolphin, pelicans, blue herons, ibis, ducks, sea gulls, and snakes.
 I also found a camping spot called “dead tree landing” aptly named but I don't think that I'd want to spend the night there.
(It looks too easy for a gattor to walk up into your tent!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Indian River

Sailing down the Indian River you pass many excellent places to anchor and you see lots of boats either in the anchorages or traveling along the way. We left Titusville and headed south to Cocoa Beach for the night before heading further south to Vero for our next night. Cocoa Beach is a good stopping point for cruisers who like to anchor. It has the biggest hardware store on the east coast of Florida, a nice ‘touristy’ town to walk around and a direct bus route to the larger stores for shoping. It also has a good dinghy dock for cruisers who like to anchor out (unlike Vero Beach which is definitely not friendly to people who anchor out). The Cocoa Beach anchorage had some unusual boats too, like this home built, steel hulled, gaff rigged schooner that has no engine!
While we were there, they left their mooring under sail and hours later, returned under sail. It’s hart warming to see good boat handling at a time when everyone uses a motor to accomplish this task.
In the morning we awoke to this sight. I wish that the picture could convey the colors of the clouds, the feel of the air and the sight of a squadron of pelicans gliding by just before I took this picture.
While sailing south we also passed this nice ketch...
and were passed by this speedy power catamaran. The best is last though,,,, my next boat!
Ain’t she a beauty? Hey Nancy, I bet that this one would be large enough! (-;